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Diamondbacks Minor League Season in review: Visalia Rawhide

Even if Visalia couldn't sustain their regular season form into the California League playoffs, still a very successful league for our High-A affiliate.

Zack Godley started the year off in Visalia
Zack Godley started the year off in Visalia
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Under manager J.R. House, the Visalia Rawhide charged to the best record in the 10-team California League, six games better than the next team. But they imploded in the best-of-five first round playoff series against San Jose, going out in five after taking the first two games and being up by four at the middle of the fifth in Game Three. Still, that doesn't diminish what House with his staff and players accomplished over the first 140 games, and any season where your winning percentage starts wth a "6" can only be applauded! That overall performance contained a number of impressive individual seasons.

Overall
  • Team record: 84-56 (1st of five)
  • Runs scored: 719 (5.14 per game)
  • Runs allowed: 611 (4.36 per game)
Hitting
  • Age: 22.6 (league average: 22.5)
  • BA: .266 (.263)
  • OBP: .321 (.326)
  • SLG: .433 (.407)
  • OPS: .754 (.734)
  • SB/CS: 126/47 (115/54)

The Rawhide scored about a quarter-run more than California League average, and it was mostly through their power, with the team's on-base percentage being five points short of the mean. This was largely the result of a pretty low walk-rate at 6.8%, although league average was also low, at 7.7%. At 21.9%, Visalia's K-rate was roughly about in line with the other teams (21.7%). But they hit 154 home-runs, second only to the launching pad known as Lancaster, and in a much less HR friendly home park. Their 126 SB was also second in the league, and with a 73% success-rate, they were not just running wild.

Leaders (min 200 PA for rate stats)
  • Runs: Daniel Palka (95)
  • Hits: Jamie Westbrook (153)
  • 2B: Palka (36)
  • 3B: Fidel Pena (7)
  • HR: Palka (29)
  • RBI: Kevin Cron (97)
  • BB: Palka (56)
  • K: Palka (164)
  • BA: Mitch Haniger (.332)
  • OBP: Haniger (.381)
  • SLG: Haniger (.619)
  • OPS: Haniger (.999)
  • SB: Breland Almadova (25)

Outfielder Haniger, came from the Brewers for Parra, and started at Double-A, but came down to Visalia to get more playing time. He made the most of it, coming within a rounded down decimal of a thousand OPS, and will likely go back up next year. Indie ball signing Stewart Ijames went the other way, being promoted to Mobile after an .884 OPS in 60 games for Visalia, but the most important cog on Visalia's offense was left-handed 1B Daniel Palka, who appeared in most games and just edged Kevin Cron for the home-run crown, 29-27. Palka also stole 24 bases; hmm, a slugging first-baseman who swipes bags, ring any bells? But he may need to get those K's under control.

Pitching
  • Age: 23.7 (24.1)
  • ERA: 3.75 (4.26)
  • WHIP: 1.248 (1.349)
  • K/9: 9.2 (8.4)
  • BB/9: 2.7 (3.0)
  • K/BB: 3.40 (2.81)

Got to love the strikeout to walk ratio, far and away the best of any affiliate (next best were the Osprey, all the way back at 2.82). All the peripherals here look pretty good, with the Visalia staff striking out better than a batter per inning, with almost three hundred strikeouts more than any other affiliate, while being the only minor-league team in our system to walk less than three per nine innings. That all factored into an overall ERA more than half a run before California League average, and with the defense posting the highest fielding percentage in the league, and 40% of base-stealers being thrown out, it's pitching and fielding that explain why they had the best overall record.

Pitching leaders (min 50 IP for rate stats)
  • Wins: Blake Perry (9)
  • Losses: Anthony Banda (8)
  • ERA: Nick Sarianides (2.11)
  • Saves: Nick Sarianides (28)
  • K: Banda (152)
  • BB: Perry (55)
  • WHIP: Sarianides (0.958)
  • K/9: Sarianides (14.8)
  • BB/9: Brandon Sinnery (1.1)
  • K/BB: Sarianides (5.69)

A quick to of the hat to Kevin Vance, who fell one out short of enough innings to take the K:BB crown, with a ratio of 6.11. Instead, that, and a slow of other #! spots, went to closer Nick Sarianides, who spent three years in independent ball after the Indians cut him, before being signed by the D-backs. He's now 26, so needs to be moving on. That's exactly what the Cy Young winner did, going 8-3 with a 2.27 ERA over his 12 starts and two relief appearances for Visalia through June 19. Little more than a month later, he was starting in the major leagues, for I mean none other than the bulldog, Zack Godley.